Sainsbury’s double bid leaves shops fearing the future
A FAMILY face the closure of their business built up over nearly 40 years if Sainsbury’s opens up opposite their shop.
Rai Supermarket faces closure if a Sainsbury’s Local is allowed on the Oak Inn site at the junction of Radford Road and Willes Road, Leamington, said the family.
And in Milverton, shopkeepers also face uncertainty with news of plans to demolish the Total petrol station on Rugby Road and replace it with a convenience store which planners have been told could be another Sainsbury’s Local.
Kewal Rai, aged 71, and his wife Ajit opened Rai Supermarket in 1975.
While building up the business he also worked night shifts at Fords and Mrs Rai also worked at the old Heinz factory in Sydenham.
It is now run by their son Narinderpal, aged 38, known as Nicky, who worked in the shop while studying at Warwickshire College and Coventry University.
The former Myton schoolboy said: “It seems an unscrupulous attempt by Sainsbury’s to take over the grocery trade.
“These big supermarket chains think they can take people’s lives away. I could see us closing within two or three months.
“Many customers have come in saying they don’t need a Sainsbury’s because of all the convenience stores in the area and big supermarkets within easy distance.”
Sainsbury’s said it will create up to 25 full and part-time jobs, keep the existing pub facade, extend the building and build a small car park.
Mr Rai has three children and his wife Sandip also works in the shop.
He said: “Sainbury’s said it will be creating jobs but it’s just jobs being replaced from elsewhere. Jobs will go in our shop and then there’s our suppliers – they will be affected.
“We buy a lot of our stuff from the area and the money goes back into the local economy – that won’t happen with Sainsbury’s.”
The business has already faced tough times with sewer replacement work leading to road closures and a big drop in passing trade, which resulted in compensation from Severn Trent, said Mr Rai.
“We provide a personal service, we talk to people and will get things in if people ask – you don’t get that with the big supermarkets.”
He said at least five small shops within a half-mile radius could be affected. Sainsbury’s held a public meeting on Tuesday night at St Mary’s church to explain its plans.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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